Matty Flynn’s brace ensured East Stirlingshire secured their spot in the next round of the South Challenge Cup after defeating Blackburn United 2-1 at New Murrayfield Park on Saturday.
Flynn’s man of the match performance embodied the newfound battling nature of Derek Ure’s squad having secured back to back 2-1 wins in tightly contested affairs.
Paul McCafferty’s early effort from 6 yards out seemed to suggest that Shire would dictate early matters, but the visitors quickly fell back into their shell in what was a tentative opening.
However, with only their second effort of the game Shire took an early lead. Martin Orr directed his pinpoint cross into the path of Flynn who steered his header expertly beyond the helpless reach of Mitchell in the United goal.
Flynn’s opener seemed to shake the hosts’ confidence with Shire buoyed by their opener. Jordan Tapping, always a threat from corners, nearly doubled United’s misery but the physical centre half’s effort rebounded off the post before being scrambled clear.
Shire’s late first half onslaught continued through Jamie Dishington. However, the winger could not continue his fine scoring form with his header well saved by Mitchell just before the interval.
The visitor’s, keen to avoid letting their lead slip, went in search of a potentially game killing second. They got it within ten minutes. Flynn, who proved too much for the United backline to handle, added another fine goal to his Shire tally by powering a header into the back of the net to give his side breathing room.
The hosts looked to show some sort of reaction to falling further behind. Unfortunately, that reaction came in the form of incessant fouling which resulted in a flurry of bookings for a frustrated United.
United playmaker, Young, exemplified his side’s increasing desperation by going down theatrically in the box; an action that resulted in a booking for himself and an angered Willie Dyer.
United substitute, Devine, ensured Shire fans experienced a little uncertainty in the dying moments when he pulled an unlikely goal back. However, the goal counted for little with Ure’s side ultimately securing safe passage to the next round.
Shire will now look towards Friday night’s crucial Lowland League matchup with Barry Ferguson’s Kelty Hearts.